What led you to do such an extreme experiment?
It was a perfect storm really. My husband’s job had plunked us down in the foreignness of Hong Kong and unfamiliar economic milieu of the expatriate class. At the same time I was struggling with the identity whiplash of new stay-at-home motherhood and questioning my professional ambitions. So I was carrying all this, along with a bagful of groceries, one day, when I saw myself in the window of a fancy clothes shop and my inner voice said “You look like crap.” I knew that inner voice—I think a lot of us know that inner voice—but for the first time in my life I wanted to tell her to go to Hell. The experiment, and the book, sprang from that urge.